Opinion: Five key takeaways from WWDC 2024 beyond Apple Intelligence

iPhone Mirroring, coming in macOS Sequoia.
iPhone Mirroring, coming in macOS Sequoia. Photo credit: Apple

Opinion: Apple has announced its big push into AI with Apple Intelligence, but that was far from the only announcement made during the company's WWDC 2024 opening presentation.

Updates were announced for its major operating systems: iOS 18, iPadOS 18, macOS Sequoia, watchOS 11 and vision OS 2.

Not all are the revolutionary changes predicted by some pundits, but there are definitely plenty of noteworthy updates coming and considering the huge popularity of iPhones, iPads, Macs and Apple Watches in Aotearoa, these will affect a great many New Zealanders.

Here are my five biggest takeaways from WWDC 2024 beyond Apple Intelligence, which I covered in a previous article:

Vision Pro

Aussies are getting it very soon, but New Zealanders still have longer to wait before we can get our hands on the mixed-reality headset Apple first unveiled this time last year.

It's still a niche product for early adopters with a wildly expensive price tag, but I am chomping at the bit after critics heralded it as offering the best quality virtual reality and augmented reality yet achieved by anyone.

At WWDC 2024 Apple announced the Vision Pro was rolling out to China, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, Canada, France, Germany and the UK over the next month, as well as Australia, where it will launch at an eye-watering AU$5999.

Aotearoa's missing out is likely related to our increasingly annoying lack of any physical Apple stores.

Photos upgrade

Most of us take way too many photos and videos these days and it's often a struggle to wade through my tens of thousands trying to find what I want.

The upcoming Photos app upgrades should make this easier with a simplified single view and what looks like way better organisation tools than the manual album curation currently offered.

The existing auto memory collections are being improved, too, with the ability to pin your favourites and customise them further, as well as an autoplay feature for quicker browsing.

Apple Intelligence promises much greater searching of your photos and videos, as well, like asking Siri to show you all photos of a specific person wearing a certain type of clothing, or performing a certain action in a certain place, etc.

iPhone Mirroring

The macOS update that stood out to me the most was the new ability to view and control your iPhone remotely from your Mac.

It looked brilliant in the presentation and should mean a lot less jumping between devices to check notifications and use apps. It's already great using Messages and some of the other Apple apps on my Macbook, but extending that to every single app including all the third-party ones will be really handy.

The iPhone will stay locked while you're accessing it via the Mac and it'll remain on StandBy mode if you have that on.

It'll also make dragging and dropping stuff between Mac and iPhone easier, too.

Math Notes is coming in iPadOS 18.
Math Notes is coming in iPadOS 18. Photo credit: Apple

Math Notes

It's a bit crazy, but the native Calculator app hasn't been offered on iPads before, despite it seeming as though it should be an easy port from iPhone.

Well, Apple is making amends with maths fans in the iPad OS 18 update with a new native app that offers what the iPhone one does as well as a unit conversion feature and keeps a record of your previous calculations.

But what was most impressive was Math Notes. Using the Apple Pencil, this allows writing any calculation and having it automatically solved, as well as graph and chart creation that would normally involve more arduous spreadsheet usage.

The WWDC presentation demonstrated this in action with a scenario where the user calculated the peak height of a table tennis ball when struck at varying speeds and angles. Modifying either the speed or the angle resulted in an immediate update to the calculation and graph.

Airpods gesture control

Being able to control your devices by shaking or nodding your head is a promising-looking new feature coming to Airpods Pro.

What it means is in crowded spaces, quiet areas or anywhere else you don't want to respond to Siri with your voice, or use your hand, you can move your head instead.

Apple said subtle head nods or shakes can be used to answer or dismiss calls, interact with messages, manage notifications and "so much more".

As someone who feels self-conscious about talking to Siri in front of people, this could be really cool.


There were many other announcements made and more information on all of them is easily available online, but the above five were the key ones for me.

Daniel Rutledge is Newshub's verticals editor, leading the team that produces the website's technology, entertainment, lifestyle and travel content.